Minda’s preg review of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: New news—I’m pregnant! So will be giving sober reviews for the foreseeable future (boring!). That said, I’ve been drinking grapefruit juice.
Spoiler-free Overview: This coming-of-age story focuses on The Marsh Girl who, due to a string of events, lives on her own in the marshes of 50s-ish North Caroline, abandoned by her family and shunned by the nearby townspeople. The book has two parallel stories: one set around Kya’s late teen years when a murder occurs in her neck of the woods and one following Kya growing up.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This book was an extremely enjoyable read, though it took me a minute to get into it. It was very heartbreaking how broken she was for being abandoned so many times at such a young age, but the ending was very satisfying.
Characters: Kya, our MC, was such an interesting character from the start, from being raised in the marsh and left behind by her family. I loved her relationships with Tate and Jumpin, and even her brother. Tate was probably my favorite character though, I thought his characterization was well-done. Mabel was also perfect.
Plot: As mentioned, in the past we follow Kya as she learns to live on her own after her father leaves and figures out how to survive with the help of Jumpin and his wife, Mabel. Kya hasn’t gone to school a day in her life, so when she meets Tate he discovers her curious nature and knowledge of the marsh and teaches her to read, leading to her life’s passion. After she is abandoned by Tate, she meets a local boy (whose name I can remember so we’ll call him R) and the relationship quickly goes astray.
Fast forward to future, R has been murdered and the sheriff is on the case. Kya is quickly identified as the top suspect, due to her knowledge of the marsh and relationship to the deceased. Was it her?
World Building: The author built a rich world of the marsh, with deep descriptions about the surrounding nature and Kya’s feelings about it.
—SPOILERS Don’t read! Or do.—
I just adored Kya and Tate’s relationship. I love that Tate shared her research and drawings for publishing, which led to Kya having a better life and the one she deserved from all her hard work. And when he gave Jumpin the book? I about died.
As far as things I liked less, I thought the murder trial was super frustrating. Kya did not help clear her name in the slightest, but I’m glad she got off and the town analyzed their prejudice against her.
Ending was perfect with Tate and the unveiling that she was the murderer AND the poet.
Side note: the period scene with Kya and Tate was so touching and real. I lol’d. Then with Mabel it was perfect.
What to pair it with: Something that pairs well with brackish seafood, so I’m going with a sweet daiquiri.
Rating: 4/5 shots